My dad moved his young family to Fort Walton Beach from Ramstein AFB in Germany in 1972. My mom shopped at the only grocery serving Fort Walton and Destin at the time-- Kelly's IGA. Nearly forty years later, the building remains, but it's now a boring mattress warehouse, next to a What-a-Burger that replaced the Hardee's I knew as a child.
We arrived at the track for a Friday afternoon skills clinic. William spoke very highly of Mr. Lackey, who headed up the clinic, and both of the boys worked hard to get ready for Saturday's race. William had some trouble with the 4th straight rhythms, and took two ugly spills trying to get it right. I always have the "what ifs", especially where William is concerned. I relaxed as I recalled that I went to New Heights Elementary with the local orthopedist, who would be happy to see us.
Following the clinic, my dad took us for dinner at another FWB icon, the Hightide. Down the street from my childhood home on Okaloosa Island, it used to be adjacent to the Seagull (known as the "Dirty Bird" after midnight), where my mom and her friends would dance the night away. Hurricane Opal took the Seagull in 1995, but the Hightide survived. After gorging ourselves on fried grouper and a dozen raw, my dad decided to get some fresh air and take the short walk to his condo, while we headed in for a good nights rest.
|Vann, Heather, Stacey, and Vann's best friend Mike- 1989?|
We headed back to Tallahassee after Saturday's race, not needing to stay for Sunday.The race was a much needed confidence booster for both of the boys, in preparation for nationals in Peachtree City later this month. As much as I love Fort Walton, I was happy as I woke in my own bed this morning, when the boys jumped in to ask their dad to go get Krispy Kreme. After all, there's no place like home.